I’m not fooled by words. I pay attention to what people do. I’m not fooled by a preacher, a politician, an actor or a musician. If they want to control my mind with words, good luck trying. I watch to see what they do. I look for the story behind the face. I use my brain to think critically. I refuse to be controlled by any kind of mass hypnosis.
I see preachers who tell the people that they must dress thus and so, own or not own a particular possession, to trim their beards into a certain shape, let them grow to a certain length, to access the internet only through an approved filter which will be provided to them by said ministers themselves. I see people sit Sunday after Sunday listening to the same droning voice giving the same droning message, going through the exact same ritual of sitting, kneeling, praying, singing, looking at the clock, kneeling, praying, and dismissing. They go to the parking lot and get into the standard issue SUV or mini van and go home to the standard roast beef dinner. This all feels very good, it is predictable and safe, and somehow this translates as right. There is absolutely no risk, nothing new, no challenge.
The people believe every word they are told. They are told that they are the only right people on the face of the earth, in the midst of billions. They are told that if they want to do a mission project of any sort it must be approved by the ministers who do the droning and the internet filtering. They are told that if they have a bad thought or send an unseemly text message they must report it to these same ministers and then endure the subsequent humiliation of exposure and discipline. Not only do they do these things, they actually believe it is for their good. They willingly and gladly give up their personal sovereignty in return for being treated like children. They tolerate being deprived of the sacrament of communion. There was a day when they were allowed to democratically select revival ministers and enjoy the preaching and fellowship. Today, as likely as not they will be summoned to the meeting to listen to men who are part of some committee that comes in to deal with problems. The people panic, thinking that there might be a problem and it might be them.
There is such a thing as mass hypnosis, which can be perpetrated upon people by the government, mass media and pharmaceuticals. There is also mass hypnosis that can be brought about by fear and mind control in a religious organization. Believe it or not, the same lulling hymns, the same rituals of kneeling and standing, singing and praying can induce a type of hypnosis. The standard procedure of one minister getting up, speaking a prescribed piece only to be followed by another minister doing the same, Sunday after Sunday, week in and week out, year in and year out, punctuated by the occasional revelation of sin and subsequent expelling, can be just as hypnotic. Minds can be lulled to sleep and fear can prevent any spontaneous behavior or original thought. This is absolutely not what Jesus came to bring. He called for rebels who would step outside of standard operating procedure, who would be looked upon as madmen because they deviated from the rule. He never said be as tame as possible so that you don’t make any waves. He said to turn the world upside down!
Mission projects in 24 countries, or whatever mean nothing. Consider the millions of dollars that have been spent and compare them to the paltry number of people who have been turned into Holdeman Mennonites. At the same time, for possibly every native that is assigned church membership, a dozen or more fall out of favor back home. Homes and families are destabilized, people lose all faith in God, because the things they have always believed to be true about him, those things which have been spoon-fed to them by men in black suits, suddenly turn out to be a disappointment, and they are left floundering, dealing with charges of pride, self-righteousness, and insubordination. Some times there is not even a charge, just a vague feeling that all is not well, and the frightened church member is left searching for some answer when there has never been a formal question.
I’m not fooled, are you? Are you willing to open up your mind and think? Are you willing to ask a question? Do something crazy this week. Ask a question. Kneel when they sit, or sit when they kneel. That of course is a joke, but do something out of the norm. Read the Bible for yourself. Dispute the standard conversation in Sunday School. Send some eyebrows sailing towards the ceiling. See what happens. See if I am right. Do it because you want to be free and you want to think for yourself.
All of my love to you